Arab regimes, media ignore Syrian claims of IAF flyover

Arab political analysts say lack of information about the alleged incident may be one of the reasons behind the indifference.

September 11, 2007 00:58
2 minute read.
Arab regimes, media ignore Syrian claims of IAF flyover

iaf planes 298 88 idf. (photo credit: IDF)


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Arab governments and the mainstream media in the Arab world have largely ignored the alleged infiltration of Israeli warplanes into Syrian airspace, drawing criticism from the Syrians. It's not clear at this stage why most of the Arab regimes are not rushing to side with Syria and endorse its claims that Israel had violated its airspace. Some Arab political analysts said the lack of information about the alleged incident may be one of the reasons behind the indifference. "The Syrian government is not surprised by the Arab position," a Syrian teacher wrote on an Arab Web site. "This is not the first time that the Arabs turn their backs to an Arab country." Issam Dari, the editor-in-chief of the Tishrin daily, one of the Syrian government's mouthpieces in Damascus, said he was more worried by the Arab reactions than the Israeli "aggression." The Arabs remained silent in the face of the Israeli piracy, he said, adding, "They are pretending as if this happened on Mars or Jupiter." A Jordanian academic in Amman said many Arab governments were unhappy with Syria's role in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as its close ties with Iran. "The Syrians are still meddling in the internal affairs of Lebanon by killing anti-Syrian figures," he told The Jerusalem Post. "They are also seen as supporting al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists in Iraq." The academic said the Syrians should be the last ones to expect the backing of the Gulf countries. "Syria is a close ally of Iran, which is still regarded as a major threat to stability in the Gulf," he said. "[Syrian President] Bashar Assad has placed himself on the wrong side by forging an alliance with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah." An Arab diplomat in Cairo said the failure of the Arab world to voice strong support for Syria "should be seen as a message to the rulers in Damascus that they must revise their policies." He said Assad "needs to realize that the Arab world has changed and become less tolerant toward dictatorships. Many Arab governments are angry with Syria because of its support for Hamas and Hizbullah." Former MK Azmi Bishara, who fled the country following allegations he had assisted Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, claimed Monday that Israel had tried to carry out a "secret strategic operation" against Syria. In an article published on a Syrian Web site, he wrote, "Israel not only invaded Syrian airspace, but apparently tried to carry out some kind of a secret strategic operation." According to Bishara, Israel attempted an attack on Syria to send a message to the Syrian government. "Israel counted on Syria opting to keep [the invasion] quiet, rather than admit it happened," he wrote. "Based on [Israel's] recent statements regarding Russia's deployment in Syria, the purpose of the operation was apparently a strike on antiaircraft missiles or on other ground targets. "Without getting carried away, this was a full-blown aerial operation and we are treading on dangerous ground. We have to make sure Israel doesn't start a war with Syria or Lebanon, and there is still a chance it would try to strike against one of them for the sake of scoring military gain."

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